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St. Isaac the Syrian (ortodox icon)

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YouTube – MSNBC Host Makes Rob Bell Squirm: “You’re Amending The Gospel So That It’s Palatable!”.

Rob Bell squirming? I guess it depends on your perspective. I find the polemical and propositional tone of the interview embarrassing at its source more than its reception. I’d be squirming in my effort to remain polite. I haven’t read Bell’s book yet, but I recognise in his argument a proximity to the Eastern Orthodox stance – an understanding that I suspect many of his detractors have no clue about.

Many are the ancient pioneers of the church, along with Augustine, who thought about and reflected on the nature of God’s love revealed and experienced through Jesus. Why the west dips its lid only to Augustine is beyond me! Origen, Irenaeus and a host of others are well worth listening to. St. Isaac the Syrian in the sixth century writes “Paradise is the love of God” and he also writes “…those who are punished in Gehennah, are scourged by the scourge of love”. So the “fire” is the love of God, and we experience His love as either divine love, or as painful “scourge”. See an article from the Orthodox point of view at Heaven and Hell in the Afterlife, According to the Bible.

It would be a good exercise to compare/contrast Rob Bell’s thinking  alongside sound eastern Christian views that have withstood 2000 years of faith and practice.

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